New ATRI Study Quantifies the Impact of Small Verdicts and Settlements on the Trucking Industry


Contact:  Dan Murray

(651) 641-6162

November 18, 2021

Arlington, Virginia – The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today released a follow-up analysis to its 2020 hallmark report on The Impact of Nuclear Verdicts on the Trucking Industry. The new report investigates the impact of verdicts and settlements under $1 million on the trucking industry.

During its research on nuclear verdicts, ATRI determined that a different plaintiff litigation model is impacting the industry: small cases. The research used a new ATRI dataset of more than 600 cases resulting in either a settlement or verdict award of less than $1 million. The report provides rich insight into key crash characteristics and litigation factors that contribute to substantial payments to plaintiffs.

This study showed that settlement payments are approximately 37.7 percent larger than verdict awards, and 393 percent more likely to occur in incidents involving a fatality. Additionally, incidents involving a severe injury were 217 percent more likely to settle and 199 percent more likely to result in payments to plaintiffs over $600,000.

The report provides an overview of the small litigation landscape in the trucking industry as well as strategies to assist carriers and attorneys in preventing more costly litigation outcomes.

“This analysis proves a theory that I have always had; there are two markets as to the value of cases – the settlement market and the trial market. There should be one market and that is what a case is objectively worth,” said Doug Marcello, Attorney at Marcello & Kivisto LLC.

For access to the full report please visit ATRI’s website here.

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.